Pothole damage to vehicles is not acceptable

Beleaguered Irish motorists are contending with escalating fuel prices, due mainly to rapidly rising international oil prices and on top of that, they are having to pay the cost of pothole damage due to the poor condition of our secondary roads in particular.

The Automobile Association poll of more than 21,000 motorists confirms what I believe, in that in the region of one in six motorists have been forced to foot the bill for repair jobs and/or call upon the AA as a result of pothole damage.

“This is a disproportionately high number of pothole related incidents in comparison to other months. However, it’s hardly surprising given the visible degradation of our road surfaces,” according to John Farrell Director of AA Motor Insurance.

The AA poll also reveals that some counties are worse afflicted than others. At the upper end of the spectrum, 23 per cent of respondents in both Wexford and Roscommon said that they have had to bring their car to the garage for repairs, call upon the AA’s breakdown services or both since the beginning of the year. Other counties to report a high number of incidents are Monaghan, Mayo, Offaly, Longford, and Clare.

The situation is slightly better, although far from ideal, in counties Waterford and Dublin where the lowest number of incidents were reported. Some 12 per cent of motors surveyed in both these counties said they sustained damage to their car following a wallop from a pothole.

“It’s important for motorists to slow down when they’re forced into a situation where they cannot avoid a pothole, says Farrell. “Tyre damage for example, unless sustained during an accident, will be viewed by your insurer as wear and tear so it’s in your interest to regulate your driving to deal with potholes.”

The most common pothole complaints reported during the AA poll were a warped wheel rim and punctures. Both of these faults were sustained by 55 per cent of those respondents who said their vehicle required repairs following an unfavourable dalliance with a pothole within the last 12 months. Damage to their vehicle’s steering alignment and shock absorbers were the next most common complaints.

“In most cases the damage done is relatively minor, like a puncture. The repair cost less than €100. But we have heard from people who have had to pay €2000 or more to fix damaged wheels and suspensions,” says Farrell.

If you have been a victim of pothole damage to your car, don't forget to raise the issue with politicians on your doorstep in the coming weeks.

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